The ability to precisely locate and track train movement on the rail network is the cornerstone of modern train control systems. The Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) and Positive Train Control (PTC) systems currently used by Class I railroads, operational on approximately 54,000 route-miles, rely on the Global Positioning System (GPS) to identify the location of the train lead locomotive, crew-entered track information, and switch position. The location of the rear of the train is then derived from the location of the lead locomotive using the train length, typically provided by the railroad’s management information systems (MIS) and confirmed or updated by the locomotive engineer.
Approximately one out of every four railroad freight cars in North America is a tank car, according to the Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts, 2019 Edition (p. 38). Each year, such cars transport roughly 2 million shipments of hazardous materials (hazmat), carrying goods that are essential to North America’s economy, public health and quality of life.
RAILWAY AGE, OCTOBER 2020 ISSUE: Ingenuity and innovation have made rail one of the safest modes of transportation. Among the cutting-edge technologies now making their mark is artificial intelligence.
Ingenuity and innovation have made rail one of the safest modes of transportation in our nation today. Hard lessons were learned over many decades by railroads, workers and regulators. Significant strides were made possible by the development and widespread adoption of evolving technologies and modern business practices. Among the contemporary cutting-edge technologies making their mark on the railroad industry is artificial intelligence, or “AI.”
RAILWAY AGE, JUNE 2020 ISSUE: Consistent with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the primary strategic goal of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is safety. The FRA mission statement reflects this priority: promoting the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods by rail. Safety has been and remains the principle driver of FRA research and development, carried out by the Office of Research, Development and Technology (RD&T).